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New paper: Consistency of satellite climate data records for Earth system monitoring

Studying the Earth system relies on the combined analysis of many variables, often drawn from a diversity of sources. A comprehensive definition of ‘consistency’ between Climate Data Records has however been missing, until now. 

New paper: Consistency of satellite climate data records for Earth system monitoringResearchers from the ESA Climate Change Initiative tackle the issue of consistency between satellite-based Climate Data Records (CDRs), in a new paper published today [3 July,2020] in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Satellite observations are of ever-growing importance. The ESA Climate Change Initiative for example coordinates climate data records for 21 of 54 Essential Climate Variables to provide the evidence base to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process; improve prediction of future change; and assess progress towards Paris Agreement targets geared to averting serious global warming. 

With around 1,000 different satellite-based CDRs and related products already available or planned the issue of consistency is of growing importance for the climate research community.

Quality and consistency of CDRs, and several budget closure studies are key aspects of the CCI. Using this experience, the paper’s authors introduce a three-level definition of consistency between multiple satellite-based Climate Data Records (CDRs) of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), discuss consistency status and requirements and develop a concept for assessing inter and cross ECV consistency.

According to lead author Thomas Popp of DLR, “greater consistency between CDRs will improve the reliability of results of Earth system studies and modelling potential future change.”

The early online release of this paper is available via the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society -